Cannes 2012: Trashed (2 stars)

Cannes 2012: Trashed

British documentary about waste pollution could have done with burrowing deeper

Watching British documentary Trashed it’s curious to think who the filmmakers imagined their audience to be. Exploring the impact and problems of waste disposal, the film barely scrapes the surface of its subject matter, giving the air of a dry education programme aimed at school children.

Actor Jeremy Irons both features in and narrates this debut feature documentary by journalist and filmmaker Candida Brady. He embarks on a journey from the UK to Lebanon to the Pacific Ocean to chart the lasting and deeply worrying impact of our waste: from incinerators pouring dioxins into the atmosphere to the rivers of rubbish that can be seen flowing from Jakarta. There is little doubt that the problem is very real, yet Brady’s film takes a bland approach and has little more to say than what most people have gleaned on the subject matter from newspaper headlines.

While there are a few interesting case studies thrown into the mix - the massive swirling island of plastic ‘soup’ in the Pacific being one - overall there’s just not enough material of interest here. Trashed would have benefitted from including a few penetrative interviews and drumming up some much-needed conflict by directing a few challenging questions at the worst waste perpetrators. Instead we have Jeremy Irons learning about the benefits of composting, which one imagines even if you had been there in the flesh would have generated a few yawns; on screen it verges on the laughable.

Trashed screened at Cannes Film Festival 2012.

TRASHED trailer (2012) - Environmental documentary with Jeremy Irons


  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 1h 40min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Candida Brady
  • Written by: Candida Brady
  • Cast: Jeremy Irons
  • UK release: 1 March 2013

Documentary in which narrator/presenter Irons travels the world examining the impact and problems of waste disposal. The problems are real but the film takes a bland approach, with Irons learning about the benefits of composting instead of conducting penetrative interviews or asking difficult questions.

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